British, American different turns of phrase

Not just words, like lorry/truck or lift/elevator, but phrases:

UK: “take a decision”
US: “make a decision”

UK: “in hospital”
US: “in the hospital”

UK: “in the event”
US: “in the end”

Any others?

All of those are in common usage in the UK depending on certain context but I wouldn’t pick any of those as being Particularly “US”.

UK “write to me”
US “write me”

is pretty distinctive.

I’ve heard Americans use the phrase “write to me,” too.

My old boss–a Canadian–was taking a licensing test at the same time I was. His inquiry of

“When do you write?”

seemed very distinct from the

“When do you take your test?”

that I’m used to.

Especially when there was no writing involved!

I say “ewrite to me”, too., Doesn’t sound odd or British.
UK: On Holiday
US: On Vacation

I recall one professor from the UK who produced confused looks when he asked his class to give him their Christian names. Of course, there was a pretty big Jewish contingent in his class that was really confused.

The British “make sure” has a different connotation than the American phrase–it seems to be more like the American “felt sure” or along the lines of thought/beleved to be so.

For example, I hear people in mystery stories say things like “I made sure the door was locked,” when they didn’t actually go and check–which is what that sort of phrase suggests to my American ears.

In news reports the ommission in US english of “on” when referring to dates.

US: A 19-year-old woman was injured Saturday afternoon when her car hit a tree.
UK: A 19-year-old woman was injured on Saturday afternoon when her car hit a tree.


US: I could care less
UK: I couldn’t care less

Both forms are used in the US – most folks, I believe, use what you’ve branded the “UK” phrase. Some use “I could care less” ironically, fully knowing that it’s illogical. And many use it without thinking about the illogic, because that’s the way they’ve always heard it. But i don’t think this example is like the others in this thread, where there’s a sharp UK/US dichotomy.

A friend of mine referred to “not being good at maths” in a conversation about statistics yesterday. I said “are you sure you’re not from England”? This is the same person who has unironically dropped phrases like “I visited him in hospital” and " 'e’s feeling poorly." She’s never even been to the UK, as far as I know.

As a Brit if I heard someone say “I made sure the door was locked” I would always assume it meant they’d rattled the handle or performed a similar physical verification.

“I’ll catch up to you” vs. “I’ll catch you up.”

UK : “At weekends” (“I see them at weekends”) w/ emphasis on “-ends”
US : “On the weekends” (“I see them on the weekends”) w/ emphasis on “Week-”

sure, but I’ve never heard anyone in the UK say “write me”

“make sure” in the UK does indeed mean that you probably went to the door and checked it was locked. I’m struggling to think of any examples of your other usage.

UK: “Take her in hand.”
US: “Train her” or “Show her the ropes.”

I think again that the former is maybe used exclusively in the UK but the latter examples are probably used here more than the former anyway.

(I’m not trying to be picky here…just clarifying)

One difference I’ve noticed from English law reports is the use of the plural verb for a collective body:

“The Board are considering the application…”

I don’t know if that’s just a legal usage, or more general in UK usage.

The only similar usage that readily comes to mind in North America is with the word “police”, as in “The police are looking for the suspect.”

How does it work with sports teams?

We would say “Man Utd were totally outclassed by a dominant Cambridge City team; City are now odds-on favourites to win the Premiership”.

In Germany, sports teams are singluar: “Der FC Barcelona muss überraschend um den Einzug in das Viertelfinale bangen”.

I guess most US sports teams are plural (Jets, Yankess, Bears etc), but would you say “Ohio State are going to win” or “Ohio state is going to win”?

How about in politics?

UK: The government are willing to consider all options
US: The senate are/is reviewing the options…?

US: not pleased
UK: not best pleased

US: a week from Sunday
UK: Sunday week

I would say “Ohio State is going to win.” But also, “The Buckeyes are going to win.”

Here’s my contribution, which is a variant of something posted earlier.

“Writing an exam”
US: compiling a set of questions for students to answer
UK: answering questions on an exam.

This leads to my question of how professors in the UK describe the task of creating an exam.